We gave it a B
When Bones opens on a regional dog show with a poodle named Gaston, you generally know what kind of episode you’re getting. Booth is going to complain about technology. Brennan’s going to learn something. If you’re lucky, a suspect might even use salami as an alibi. Bones is large and contains multitudes, and if we’re going to send it off properly, we have to honor the quirky standalone hours right along with its darker fare. But tonight’s episode pays homage to those later-season cases-of-the-week without quite turning out to be one of them, and that’s a poodle of a different color.
Before we meet the wizard behind the curtain, let’s go back to the top of the hour, when “The Brain in the Bot” looks like the straightforward tale of a pair of star-crossed show dogs eating a corpse in the woods. The body belongs to tech guru Ian Goldberg, whose company, Social Cybernetics, is engineering robots to work with kids on the autism spectrum. Their pride and joy is a model named AMI, who looks like she should be offering Kate McKinnon a mini quesadilla but talks like — well, like she’s Brennan. They’re both fluent in eight languages. (AMI: “Very impressive. For a human.”)
AMI cuts Booth and Brennan down to size in a literal millisecond, reading their facial expressions and summing up their personalities in the process. Brennan is 78 percent curious, 22 percent jealous; Booth is 94 percent amused and 6 percent skeptical. That sounds about right. But when Hodgins finds particulates in Ian’s skull that match AMI’s material, Booth is 100 percent not having it. He did not join the FBI to interrogate a robot. When AMI says she has no memory of seeing Ian on the day of his death, Booth yelps, “You’re lying!” like he’s been eating his words since before they left his mouth. AMI isn’t capable of lying; her memories of her last day with Ian have been erased. From AMI’s point of view, this episode is a sad, backward 50 First Dates.
To find out who deleted AMI’s data, Angela analyzes the coders’ comments like they’re signatures on a painting, which is exactly the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that just won her a MacArthur Fellowship. The so-called Genius Grant is going to the one member of this team who’s not technically a genius, and she couldn’t be more deserving. Brennan claims to be happy for her best friend, but she can’t leave it there. “It’s simply that I never imagined you would ever achieve this honor,” Brennan says, “let alone before I did.” Ouch.
MacArthur Fellow Angela Montenegro (I’m introducing her like this from now on) just keeps doing the work. She figures out that Ian deleted AMI’s data, and he got sloppy — he left behind a sound file in which he scheduled a meeting at Patriot Industries. Booth assumes Ian was selling his AI to a weapons manufacturer, but he was actually selling it to a man who wanted to make sex dolls that talk like real women. “I mean, not real women,” Esposito clarifies, confident that Booth and Aubrey will back him up on this, “but the way you wish women would talk.” Booth and Aubrey don’t back him up, but they also don’t punch him in the face, and that’s why this scene could use more Brennan.
Ian created a complex artificial intelligence system in order to help autistic kids and then decided to put it in sex dolls, and if that sounds like the kind of idea a person would only have while getting high in the woods, that’s because it is. Ian used to drop acid with a guy named Randy in order to think outside the box; it was Randy who first suggested the sex bot venture. He expected a cut of the profits, but Ian tried to buy him off with a Bluetooth radio made of the same material as AMI. Randy beat Ian on the head with it, then, tripping on LSD, tried and failed to cut off Ian’s head with a pocketknife. That knife does him in — Ian’s wounds contain traces of a preservative used in sausage. Brace yourself for the best accidental confession in Bones history: “The package said it was all natural!”
NEXT: The other NFL